Can you trust an SIA forecast? The SIA, naturally, does what its members tell it to do. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
And SIA’s members do not want too high an expectation put by their trade body on market expectations. If members’ own sales don’t meet the SIA forecast, the members will look bad. So the pressure is on for the SIA to forecast low.
At the moment the SIA is forecasting a flat year.
Forecasts of flat semiconductor market growth in 2012 are “totally and absolutely wrong”, said Malcolm Penn CEO of Future Horizons at IFS2012 in London last week
“It’s not going to be less than 4%,” added Penn, “it’ll be something in the 4-8% region.”
Q1 was down 2.3%, said Penn, he reckons Q2 will be between 6.6% and 8.3% growth, and Q3 will be up 10%.
In semiconductor forecasting said Penn: “There’s visibility for two quarters at best; the third quarter out is hazy; for the 4th quarter, you haven’t a clue.”
Penn pointed out that three of the industry’s four fundamental driving forces are good.
There is no inventory. “The inventory burn is over,” said Penn, “the demand we’re now seeing is real demand. No ones’s got the capacity to build inventory and people are too scared to build inventory.”
The second fundamental is fab capacity and there’s no excess capacity at the moment and no likelihood of that changing any time soon.
The third fundamental is ASP – pricing – and here the situation is that it’s flat to trending up which is good news in the semiconductor industry where Moore’s Law mandates a halving in price every 18 months.
The fourth fundamental is the only negative one and it’s the economy. “Confidence in the advanced economies is at an all-time low,” said Penn, “the politicians and leaders have made a mess and the natural reaction of business leaders is to do nothing. There’s a huge amount of cash out there which companies are sitting on. But when in doubt do nothing.”